Top riders know how important proper nutrition is!

Often, riders focus on their horse’s nutrition but neglect their own. Your horse isn’t the only athlete in this partnership. If you want to keep up with the demands of riding, then your body requires proper nutrition and exercise. Even basic barn chores and a leisure trail ride burn up energy. Your diet will help you keep your strength and stamina up!

Before you jump onto the latest fab diet, hold your horses! Basic nutrition and good eating habits don’t require following trends. They’re a lot simpler than that! Use these tips as a good starting point to take control of your health. With time, you’ll be feeling your best.

Drink lots of water!

A lot of people underestimate the amount of water you need to stay hydrated throughout the day. The recommended amount is 64 ounces per day. If it’s hot outside and you’re sweating, then expect to drink even more. Before you head to the barn, toss a bottle or two into your bag!

Dehydration can cause brain fog, mood swings, overheating and a ton of other conditions. On the flip side, drinking water has the ability to boost your energy, assist with weight loss, improve digestion, hydrate the skin and detoxify the body.

A simple change to make is swapping out caffeinated and sugary drinks with water. Soda and coffee may give you a quick boost of energy in the short term, but in the run long you’ll pay the consequences. Coffee can affect your sleep, mood and blood pressure. Plus, the body builds up a tolerance and the energy benefits become less and less.

Say yes to protein.

Protein powers our body! Daily intake is essential for keeping your cells in good shape. You should aim to eat protein at every meal. Meat and non-animal sources are available, depending on your preferences. Some good options include chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, lean beef cuts, spinach, nuts, seeds, beans and broccoli.

Here’s an idea… pack yourself a small snack to take to the barn. A hard-boiled egg or some trail mix is easy to bring along. You can even put it in your saddlebag for a longer trail ride.


Choose your carbs wisely.

Many people think they should cut carbohydrates out of their diet. As long as they’re slow-releasing, then you shouldn’t be afraid to eat them. Carbs give the body fuel and energy throughout the day. Simple carbohydrates like white bread should be kept at a minimum. You’re looking for complex carbs, such as whole-grain bread, brown rice, and sweet potatoes.

When you’re shopping at the grocery store try to swap out some of these items… 

  • Cookies and cakes for fresh, frozen, or dried fruit
  • White rice for brown rice or quinoa
  • Fried potatoes for sweet potatoes
  • White bread for whole-grain bread
  • Refined flour pasta for whole-grain pasta
  • Sugary cereals for oatmeal

Good vs bad fats!

Not all fats are equal! Some like trans-fat have been known to increase inflammation in the body and cause heart disease and diabetes. Others like monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat are considered more heart-friendly. It’s important you put the right ones in your body.

The good fats are found in nuts, vegetable oil, peanut butter, avocado, flaxseed, salmon, walnuts and more. On the other hand, bad fats can appear in margarine, vegetable shortening, baked goods, processed foods, and fried foods.

Your body is a reflection of what you eat.

If you want your body to perform at its peak level, then fill it with the right fuel! As an overview, drink lots of water, avoid bad fats, choose slow-releasing carbs, eat a good amount of protein, and stay away from processed items. Your diet should include a mix of colors and textures. Meal planning should be fun! You don’t have to make it boring. 


Emily Fought

Emily Fought discovered her passion for horses early on in life. When she isn't writing about them, you can find her in the barn riding. Although Emily's background is in dressage, she enjoys cross-training and is an avid trail rider. She resides in Northeastern Ohio with her husband and small dog. Together, they own and operate Humblewood Farm. Emily not only writes for but as well!

January 20, 2021